Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

T3 3
  • Is this smartphone camera hybrid a killer combo, or clunky compromise? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

    Love

    • Powerful 10x zoom lens
    • Comprehensive camera app
    • Dazzling xenon flash

    Hate

    • Heavy and bulky
    • Soft 720p display
    • Jerky video

    Replacing the outgoing Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, the Galaxy K Zoom is a high-spec Android 4.4 KitKat smartphone on a par with the company's mighty Samsung Galaxy S5, albeit without the 1080p screen and flashy fingerprint recognition.

    Instead of treading on the S5's toes its USP is an integrated zoom camera that means you can leave your real compact snapper at home. Sure, the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41-MP sensor and the Sony Xperia Z2 can shoot underwater, but neither can boast a telescopic 10x optical zoom.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Size and build

    In a world of wafer thin smartphones, the 20.2mm thick K Zoom is a beast. It's nicely rounded, like a pebble according to the blurb, but to incorporate the collapsible lens assembly, Samsung hasn't been able to shrink it much further than its predecessor.

    It might just fit in your pocket, but it's larger than any compact camera and at 200g, it's considerably heavier too.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Features

    Samsung is eager to prove that you can have the best of both worlds by giving you what appears to be an uncompromising high-zoom compact without skimping on any of the features you'd expect to find on a premium Android smartphone.

    It's a 4G handset with a single Micro-SIM slot and memory that expands from 2GB internal to an extra 64GB thanks to a MicroSD card slot at the side. Samsung has relocated it so you don't have to take the battery out to swap cards.

    The K Zoom's hexa-core processor runs Android 4.4 KitKat quickly enough to handle demanding apps and certainly processes video faster than any camera.

    There's Bluetooth v4.0 with NFC wireless connectivity for linking your wireless devices and sharing your photos, which is an important point for a camera phone.

  • Can Samsung's new smartphone with an optical zoom camera win us over where the Galaxy S4 Zoom failed? Check out our Samsung Galaxy K Zoom hands-on

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

    Love

    • Powerful 10x zoom lens
    • Comprehensive camera app
    • Dazzling xenon flash

    Hate

    • Heavy and bulky
    • Soft 720p display
    • Jerky video

    Samsung's back once again with a camera-centric smartphone;  the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. The follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, it comes with better optics at 20.7-megapixels and more power with a hexa-core processor. It's aimed squarely at those who prize the camera above all else in a smartphone, and is hoping to tempt you away from your current pocket camera.

    With the likes of the HTC One M8 and the Nokia Lumia 1020 already in the market with high-end smartphone features along with a great camera, where does the K Zoom fit and what else does it offer? T3 went hands-on. Article continues after the hands-on video.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Size and Build

    One of the main complaints we had with the S4 Zoom was its size. We're happy to report that the K Zoom is smaller. It's still not exactly small, just smaller than its, frankly, huge predecessor.

    Gone is the strange side-grip and the lens doesn't protrude as much. It's a much more streamlined offering. The stats come in at 137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6mm.

    It's not light, with a heft of 200g. Side-by-side with the 145g-light Samsung Galaxy S5, the extra weight is noticeable.

    It lands with the same textured back as the S5 and comes in three colour variants: charcoal black, shimmery white and electric blue. All in all, it's an improvement on the S4 Zoom.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Features

    Samsung claims that this is a smartphone with high-end optics but the specs are a far-cry from the high-end Galaxy S5. You won't find any finger print sensor action or heart-rate monitor on board. S Health is the lite version but it will pair with the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo.

    What it does have is the handy ultra power-saving mode that'll conserve your battery and also the usual connections including NFC, Bluetooth and GPS.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Screen

    On to the screen and it's a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a 1280 x 720p resolution. It's larger than the S4 Zoom, which measured 4.3 inches, but smaller than the S5 at 5.1 inches.  

    The resolution is an obvious drop from the high-end S5 that touts 1080 x 1920 resolution and it's apparent when looking at both phones side-by-side. We're used to clear-crisp displays with eye-popping colours and this, unfortunately, doesn't compare.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Camera

    The camera is, obviously, the main event and Samsung has added a lot to its optics offering. The essential stats come in at a 20.7-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor with 10x optical zoom and full HD video recording at 60p.

    During our play with the device, the zoom was lighting fast when using pinch-to-zoom or the volume rocker. Pictures were detailed and it managed well in the low-light conditions.

    Where things get interesting is the added features that are on offer. First-up is the ability to set the exposure and focus independently within the same image. Tap on the screen and a pair of boxes will appear that you can then move to select the focus and exposure. Handy for bright backgrounds and dark foregrounds.

    There's also the Pro-suggest function that will allow you to create and save your own manual profiles. You can then share these with others and download more pre-made manual profiles.

    Other camera features include the obligatory selfie mode, object tracking and a plethora of filters.

    It's a very neat package. As with the camera on the S5, the UI is slick and easy to use with large tiles and icons. We'll be putting the camera through its paces as soon as we have a product in for a full review but so far so good.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Performance

    Powering the huge camera is a hexa-core processor that includes a 1.3GHz quad-core along side a 1.7Ghz dual core processor. Also on board is 2GB of RAM.

    You'll need to invest in a micro SD card if you opt for the K Zoom as the onboard memory is a measly 8GB but this can be expanded to 64GB with a micro SDXC.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Battery

     

    Battery life is taken care of by a 2,430mAh cell offering, up from 2,330mAh on its predecessor but smaller than the 2,800mAh unit in the S5. Don't expect more than a day's usage and even less if you're a happy snapper.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: Verdict

    The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is a stronger offering than the S4 zoom but the problem it faces is the competition. It doesn't have the specs to match the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2 all of which take more than decent pictures with their onboard cameras.

    The mediocre screen, smaller battery unit and larger build don't endear us to the device. It feels as though Samsung has gone back to the noughties when feature phones were the best the tech world had to offer. If you liked music, you would get a music phone, liked browsing, you could get an internet phone and so on. The problem now is that we have high-end phones that can do all of these and more. We'll let you know how it performs as soon as we get our hands on a full review sample.

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom release date: End of May 2014

    Samsung Galaxy K Zoom price: TBC

    Hands-on review by Rhiain Morgan

    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung-Galaxy-K-Zoom-lead.jpg
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